Now the rest of the human race has been wiped out, Del (Peter Dinklage) can have the peace he always craved. But he also has a tidy mind, what with being a librarian and all, so when he is not catching up with his reading - all those wonderful books to lose himself in - he refers to the map of the town where he lives and crosses off the homes he has visited to clear away the bodies and bury them, then clean up their houses as a mark of respect - or is he simply making sure there will eventually be no trace of those he once shared the world with? However, one night he is in for a surprise when he notices the sky light up in the distance with fireworks...
The director here, Reed Morano, was interesting because of their past in cinematography; there was nothing unusual in a female director in the early twenty-first century even if they were not as numerous as the male ones still, but a woman as director of photography was a note of interest, though she shrugged off any notion that she was doing anything other than a job she had a talent for. I Think We're Alone Now was her second film at the helm after a lot of credits for her camerawork, and her experience on hit television series The Handmaid's Tale saw her in good stead for what amounted to another grim tale of the future, albeit post-apocalyptic here.
We do not really find out what happened to the rest of humanity, but it doesn't matter that much when Del is living in the present and even looking to the future in what may be a lonely existence, but loneliness is what suits him. Dinklage had played an isolated little man before in one of his breakthrough roles The Station Agent, and if there's one type of person cinema likes to interrupt when they are innocently going about their business it's the solitary character, whose essential blank slate is practically begging for filmmakers to scrawl on. So it was here, as screenwriter Mike Makowsky invented reasons to mess up Del's preferred belief that he was special in his uniqueness.
Unique? Nothing of the kind, it didn't matter that almost everyone else was dead, there was always going to be someone to invite themselves to your party for one, and here it was Elle Fanning as Grace who Del, surrendering to his curiosity, goes and finds after seeing those fireworks. She is inert when he stumbles across her in a car, but not deceased, merely needing wounds tended to and rest to bring her back to full strength, but that's not enough for her as while he would prefer she carries on her way, she is more keen to be part of his life, it is implied because whatever happened to her before is too traumatic to contemplate and even an existence played out with a diminutive grump is preferable to that. Naturally, that past is about to catch up with her in a way that Del's humdrum one will not.
There was a literary feel to much of I Think We're Alone Now, and definitely not a pop ditty tradition its title curiously invokes and does nothing with (a more pretentious moniker would have been preferable - Wild-Eyed Loner at the Gates of Oblivion, something like that). Morano's way with a camera was exemplary, as you might expect, bringing out the otherworldliness of a society that not so long ago had been teeming with lives by regularly shooting Dinklage and Fanning in silhouette with the light source in front of them, a neat trick that crafted an eerie atmosphere. While for the most part this explored the satisfaction of crossing off boxes that the type of person who likes to impose order on the disordered can enjoy, and how fragile that contentment can be, not a huge amount happened for most of the running time until they remembered they better include more plot, which introduced a sixties sci-fi dystopia posing as utopia element that kind of worked out if you didn't mind that it was silly and involved unnecessary murder as a narrative full stop. Oddly pleasing in its way, though. Music by Adam Taylor.